Copyright – the ongoing battle

The one topic that grabbed my attention the most throughout this module was copyright. Personally, I find two forms of copyright particularly interesting. The first is orphan copyright, and the second is the idea of the Creative Commons. These are the two parts I’m going to analyse. creative_commons

Orphan copyright is interesting because the restrictions on works are tighter than normal copyright. Work becomes an ‘orphan’  when its “rights holders are positively indeterminate or uncontactable” (hence the name). When this happens, the work is usually locked away because the rights holder literally cannot be contacted for permission to use the work. However, I think it would be better if restrictions were to be looser, rather than tighter than normal copyright. This is because I think there is so much potential in orphan works, that an effort should be made to at least give the copyright to someone close to the original owner, and allow it back into the public domain.

Therefore, I also like the idea of the Creative Commons. ‘CC’ (Creative Commons) is defined as “a non-profit organisation devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share”. I think the idea of sharing work in a legal way, and building upon it in order to better it, is a great idea.

Of-course, the other side of the argument is that whoever creates something successful should be credited, and get paid for it. But I think the idea of having an organisation like the Creative Commons is a great idea, and finding a balance between the two arguments is important.

Here’s a link to Creative Commons, should you wish to browse what they offer:

https://creativecommons.org/ 

 

 

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The Sky’s the limit – copyright of BskyB and illegal streaming

BskyB, which is more commonly known as just Sky, is owned by its founder Rupert Murdock. The company has many different branches, such as Sky Movies, Sky TV and Sky Sports. I’m going to focus on the last one of these branches, Sky Sports.

In the UK, to get access to Sky, you need to sign up to a package deal that could end up costing over £50 a month on top of other bills. With these packages, the viewer gets access to Sky Go, which allows them to stream whatever channel they like online. For example, if a person was to sign up to the sports package, they could stream Sky Sports channels 1 to 5 through their laptop. Because Sky has broadcast rights to a number of events such as the Premier League, it has become hugely popular in the UK.

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Therefore, the only way to legally watch most sport on TV is to be a Sky member. This is very costly, and not everyone can afford it, so many people turn to streaming sport online through illegal websites.

If Sky was to share their TV through a creative commons license, it would ensure everyone had access to watch what they want, when they want. Thus making illegal streaming completely useless, and reducing the number of people doing it.

Of course, this would never happen. As a business, Sky aims to turn a profit, so offering their services for free would completely ruin the company.

But it’s good to dream that maybe one day sport will be free, or cheaper to watch and stream.

Online visibility

As a journalism student, I feel it is particularly important to be visible online. The Internet is a great platform for sharing my work, and I aim to get as much coverage for my writing as possible.

In terms of social media, I am active on most of the big ones. I have a Facebook account, and it’s privacy settings are controlled by me. I have chosen to be visible mainly to my friends, although my name, and some basic information (like location) can be seen by everyone. Anything else can only be seen by my friends, who I have to accept on Facebook, to ensure I don’t share too much information.

On Twitter however, I am very different. I share most of my writing on this platform, as it is easy to link and tag to the rest of the world, through hashtags for example. Therefore, everything I post on my account can be seen by everyone, and nothing on there is secret. Because I use Twitter completely differently to Facebook, I have never registered much private information, and the only personal thing on there is my date of birth.

I am only active on one other form of social media, which is Instagram. Similarly to Twitter, I have very little, if any, personal information on Instagram. I am very careful with the kind of pictures I upload there, and anything I do put on there I am happy for the rest of the world to see, because my account is not locked.

Overall, I believe I have a strong online presence, but this does not necessarily mean I am oversharing information. For the career I want, I think it’s important to have a good balance between having a strong online presence, but staying as private as possible.

Reddit – “I read it on reddit”

Reddit, which rather arrogantly names itself “The front page of the internet”, is an online community that is visited by over 542 million people each month. OK, maybe they’re justified with that claim.

Founded in 2005, the site is an “entertainment, social news networking service and news website where registered community members can submit content”. These users submit text posts or direct links, which essentially makes the website an online bulletin-board.

Within reddit itself, is a whole world of ‘subreddits’ that cover almost any topic imaginable, from entertainment to gaming and even threads purely centred around memes. Now in 2015, there are over 5,400 active subreddits to peruse, with a default set of 50 subreddits as well.

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Because the community is so large, users can find help or guidance over almost any topic imaginable. For example, if you’re struggling to find healthy meals to eat, just head over to https://www.reddit.com/r/fitmeals for some ideas. Or if like me, you always find yourself forgetting something really important, like the name of a song you heard 7 hours ago, go to https://www.reddit.com/r/tipofmytongue, and the community will help you out by tracking that tune down and sending it to you.

Of course, there are some strange subreddits to avoid, and I won’t list them here, so if you’re feeling brave, check them out yourself. But as a whole, reddit may be one of the most useful communities on the Internet today, as it is so vast in content.

Here’s a link to the self-proclaimed ‘front page of the Internet’: https://www.reddit.com/  

 

 

SoundCloud – Music created by the audience, for the audience

When I read this weeks brief, to find something online that is driven by its audience, the first thing that came to my mind was SoundCloud. Created in 2007, the platform “allows users to upload, record, promote, and share their originally-created sounds“. Its free service attracts 175 million unique monthly listeners, and the amount of content these users create is astounding. According to the companies data, content creators upload about 12 hours worth of audio every minute. 1280px-soundcloud_logo-svg

The reason I think SoundCloud is driven by its audience is because, without their contributions, the website would fail to exist. What makes it even better is the diversity of artists sharing their music on the platform. From stars like Kanye West promoting their new albums, to underground grime artists uploading their latest tracks, the diversity in the music is incredible.

soundcloud

A few months after it was founded, SoundCloud entered a war with MySpace to become the biggest platform for musicians to distribute their music. Judging by the lack of users on MySpace these days, SoundCloud won. With such a simple

With such a simple interface as well, SoundCloud ensures that anyone, anywhere in the world can upload their music and share it with others. And with more than 40 million registered users, SoundCloud is well and truly driven by its audience.

 

Have illegal streaming websites killed the film industry?

It’s no secret these days that most people would rather find a dodgy low-quality stream of the latest blockbuster film online, rather than going to the cinema and paying £10 to see it in all its glory. I’m sure most of us have done it, and I certainly have. But has anyone ever stopped and thought ‘hey, I wonder if this is such a big deal, what difference does one person not paying £10 to see this in the cinema make?’ – they probably haven’t.

But the truth is that there is a huge impact on the film industry. Some legal websites, most notably the likes of ‘Netflix’ are helping prolong the industry, but let’s be honest, there’s not really anything good on there.


Piracy is not a new thing, as counterfeit DVD’s have been around for decades, but with platforms like the internet making it so much easier to watch these films, piracy now costs the UK film industry over £500 million a year, and it’s estimated that 30% of the UK population have in some way pirated content. 

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My main point then, is that not all technological convergence is good. If the UK film industry alone is losing £500 million a year, is this going to be sustainable? And with figures like these, will the next generation of want-to-be filmmakers bother trying to get into an industry that may be killed off by the web?
Bear that in mind next time you think your £10 won’t be missed at the Vue in Harrow. 1820fa38875ea4ded4218f6aab05e76567d82fae3628ad2427429839c6fc7641

Useful resources – “Stuff I think” blog

The resource I’ve found is a blog written by Jiyan Naghshineh Wei, titled “Stuff I think”. The website hosts many different posts on a number of topics, with some relevant to our course. Jiyan has a Master’s degree in Media Theory from LSE (London School of Economics) and I consider him almost an expert in this field.

One of his posts, titled ‘Network Society’ particularly grabbed my attention. The post explains Castells’ theory of what we’re studying (the network society), but in a very simple way. Personally, I feel many of the theories we study can be quite complicated, so I found Jiyan’s post very useful. For example, he breaks Castells’ theory down into processes and characteristics that are easy to understand and learn.

As well as this one specific post, the blog covers a range of topics related to our course. Jiyan has set his page out well, and categories that are relevant to us (i.e. ‘globalisation’ or ‘media analysis’) are easy to navigate to by using the sidebar.

Even though the blog is not exactly an academic text or specialist database, and isn’t something that we can actually reference in our essays, I found it very useful to build a base knowledge of the course. It is also very professionally made and I will keep returning throughout the course!

If you want to read other posts, find them here.